Toxicity has been an one of the worst things that plague the world of online multiplayer games. If you have ever played an online multiplayer game and it doesn’t matter which game, the presence of abusive people just cannot be ignored. Sure the intensity is more in games that have more competitive value, but it’s always a bad experience. First time players are often overwhelmed by this and are afraid to take it up anymore.
With other successful titles and game producers already struggling to handle the terror of toxic players, Rare Games has taken no chance and included built in anti-toxic measures in the game Sea of Thieves.
Jerome Hagen who is a user researcher at Microsoft has said that the company has included brigs aboard the pirate ships. The ships on Sea of Thieves are run by multiple players and the brig will ensure that people on the ship need not have to put up with a disruptive person. Players, instead of reporting other players to the admins, can now vote among the mates in the ship to lock another player up in the brig if they have been toxic or disruptive.
The brig is essentially a holding cell that is located at the lowest level of the ship. And the developers say that this would encourage people to get into the right spirit of the game and abide by the laws.
According to Hagen, “You might have a player who joins your crew and they are causing problems of some kind.” He added, “If it’s bad enough, you have the option to kick them entirely. The brig was introduced as a way to give players control. They can vote to put someone in the brig, or have them negotiate, apologize, or do whatever fixes the situation best. We’ve seen this in a really playful and role-playing way that comes with being a pirate.”
This gives a fun twist to the idea of punishing someone for bad behavior and other games have found success at curbing negative behavior using game design.
The developers have plans for people who may not be abusing, but just trolling others as well. They have included a feature called “Scuttle Ship” into Sea of Thieves which literally zips the ship to another area of the map to avoid any trolling ships that would not leave them alone.
The idea to just use players and not just moderators to handle situations of harassment, might just work out for Rare. And it has its set of code of conduct for players to refer to, not abiding by which would be punishable.